Even though I live in hot sunny Florida, many ask me for some tips for running in cold weather. Sometimes it does get a little cool here but no snow! I do have to take some measures for running in cold weather. Maybe just trade in my shorts for long pants and long sleeves top but hey it’s a change.
Some people look at running in the snow or cold weather crazy, but I know it takes something major to make runners stay at home. Sometimes runners who run in the snow get weird looks from passer-by and looks on insanity but we take it as a compliment. The trails are less crowded, don’t have to worry about the hot sun, and the winter running wardrobe is so awesome!
WINTER RUNNING TIP #1.- Dress warm!!
Dress for 20 degrees warmer than what it is. Some may want to over-dress, but it can be a problem if you do. Dressing warmer when your body is cold can increase the chances of overheating and sweating like crazy. Dress as if its 15 to 20 degrees warmer than it actually is. This will allow your body temperature to increase and reduce the risk of you being too hot and cause excessive sweat. You should feel chilled when you walk out the door. If you are toasty warm, remove a layer. Less is more.
WINTER RUNNING TIP #2.- Burning lungs
I’ve never ran in the snow, but I have ran in cold enough weather to feel my lungs burning! I wouldn’t recommend running in the VERY cold air to those with respiratory issues, because the burning sensation every time you take a breath can be killer! What I do know is that it will take a few runs in that cold frosty air until your lungs get used to that temperature.
WINTER RUNNING TIP #3.- Run when its sunny.
Depending on where you live and how bad the winter hits, try running on those warmer sunny days. Since the bright shinning sun is rare during the winter in some areas, take advantage of it when possible. Another plus for running in the sunny days is that you don’t have to layer up as much. I don’t have to worry about wearing so much running here for winter, but I don’t know how comfortable all those layers of clothes are when running, so if being bundled up isn’t your thing…run in the sun!!!
WINTER RUNNING TIP #4.- Hydration is still a MUST!!!
Even though it might not be hot and sticky, where you are losing pounds of sweat, you still need to stay hydrated. Many believe that running in the cold weather means you don’t have to stay hydrated as much as warmer months but not true! You still need to drink something every few miles(depending on your distance). Even though a nice cold glass of water might not be ideal, you can carry a bottle of warm water and carry it under your jacket so it doesn’t freeze up.
WINTER RUNNING TIP #5.- Gone with the wind.
I just had to deal with this cold problem a few weeks ago. It is probably the hardest thing for me to handle running in the winter months. Starting by running against the wind, this will be helpful when you are running back. By the time you are on your way back, you are sweating and the last thing you want is to be hammered with freezing wind gusts at that point. If the wind is too cold, you can run into it for about 15 minutes and then turn around and do 15 minutes reps until you reach your desired mileage. I’ve also head of some runners putting face protector lotion on their nose and cheeks to prevent frostbite on those REALLY cold and windy days.
WINTER RUNNING TIP #6.- Be as bright as a star!
Since the sun isn’t out very long it makes for many runners to run at dusk or even the dark. Make sure that you are wearing bright colors, and maybe even some reflective gear so others can see you. If it has snowed that day, or if it’s currently snowing having bright colors on will make you more visible against the white snow. Wearing a headlamp, knuckle lights, or lights on your shoes is also a good idea.
WINTER RUNNING TIP #7.- Protect your feet!!!
Wearing proper shoes is vital when running. But running in the snow means wet soggy shoes and socks. This can be a problem because your feet can freeze and cause damage! Try to wear shoes that have the least amount of mesh on them to minimize wetness to freeze your feet. Wear some socks that keep your feet dry and warm. I am sure in the colder states in the winter time you can find those socks with ease.
WINTER RUNNING TIP #8.- Set a goal!
Finding time to run in the winter doesn’t come easy especially during the holiday time. I think I would be the opposite in this case, but when you are sitting in your cozy warm house and look out the window to a cold snowy filled day, it might be hard to find the motivation to get out there and run. Setting a goal will increase the chances of you getting out there and running. Set a distance goal each time you run, or aim for a certain amount of mileage a week. Set any type of goal to get you out there!!!
WINTER RUNNING TIP #9.- Warm up!
Make sure before you head out for a run that you give your body ample time to warm up a little. Your body will take a little longer to warm up in colder temps so you need to take the time to stretch and get that blood pumping! You can run around your house to warm yourself up before you head out, you can also put your running clothes in the dryer before you head out. The last thing you want to do is run while your body and muscles are cold. You are asking for soreness pain afterwards, if you want to you can also do a brisk 5 minutes walk before you start running.
WINTER RUNNING TIP #10.- Fun time!
Running in the winter can be a bit much, but make sure to make it fun! Run with friends, change your route, or run past some holiday fun! Check out some neighborhood holiday lights, or register for a holiday race. This will help getting out there a little easier instead of making you cranky!
WINTER RUNNING TIP #11.- Run on safe grounds!!
I know that snowy wet streets is slippery so make sure you are as careful as possible when running on ice. Getting some shoes that are appropriate for running in the snow season might be ideal. Try to stick to cleared sidewalks, groomed running trails and places where you are certain that there is no ice or likelihood of drops under snow cover, such as covered drains. Be careful of tree roots in parks that are hiding under the snow, especially as the season begins to thaw.
Some of these winter tips do not apply to me here in Florida, but I still have to layer up, wear bright clothes, hydrate, and fight the wind!! I hope these tips will help you continue to train,run or race throughout these cold winter months!